Readers Photo Challenge assignment: Done with mirrors (and more)

The next Readers Photo Challenge assignment will be a time to reflect because “reflections” is the subject. Using reflections as a compositional element can add a little extra visual spice and interest to your photo.

(10/1/17) A mirror for sale reflects the bargain hunters at the Lodi Street Faire on Church School Street in downtown Lodi. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/6.3. ISO: 200)

You can find reflections just about anywhere. The most obvious choice to create one is a mirror. You don’t have to just rely on the mirror in your bathroom. They can be found everywhere. There are mirrors on cars run living rooms. Restaurants and other business place the on walls to make a small space look bigger. Exercise studios/gyms put them up so that their clients can check out their form as they workout. Mirrors are great for environmental portraits. You can show an overall of a scene or room and then have a person reflected in a mirror. Mirrors are great for selfies. There’s no having to stretch ones arm out to take a self-portrait, just turn the camera towards the mirror.

(11/26/18) An egret is reflected in the water as it dives off of a dock in an attempt to catch a fish from Smith Canal in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm w/1.7 extender @ 340mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/9. ISO: 800)

Mirrors aren’t the only source of reflections, any shiny surface will do. Standing water will do. It can be any size, from a puddle to a lake, as long as it’s still. Any disturbance of the surface, from the wind or a thrown rock, will cause it to ripple. You might get away with small distortions but larger ones will completely obliterate any reflections you might want.

(9/27/17) Fourteen-year-old Connor Guzman, right, is reflected in the drumhead of 16-year-old Angel Lopez’s bass drum during a practice of the Franklin High School Marching Yellow Jackets at the school in Stockton. An off-camera flash was used to illuminate the second drummer reflected in the drumhead of the first. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-70mm @70mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/5.6 w/fill-flash. ISO: 200)

Shiny glass or metal can also be good sources of reflections. Darker colors, such as tinted glass or a black or dark blue car door will transmit the refections the best. A few years ago I photographed the Franklin High School marching band practicing. The large bass drums had shiny black heads. I was able to get one drummer reflected in the head of another’s drum.

(8/16/17) Clouds hover over the desert near Carlin, Nevada are reflected in the side mirror of a moving van. (Camera: Apple iPhone 6s. Lens: 4.2mm. Exposure: 1/2481 sec. @ f/2.2. ISO: 25)

Reflections can double the content of your photo, just make sure that’s worth repeating. A bland featureless sky in a landscape will be just as bland when shown in a reflection. Wait for some pretty clouds and you will have twice the beauty.

(5/4/18) Edison High cheerleader Alexis Rieta, 16, is reflected in the window of a minivan while scrubbing it down at the Edison Cheerleader Car Wash held in the parking lot of the school’s Taggart Gym in Stockton. Proceeds from the car wash go to funding summer cheer camp for the cheerleaders. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 24mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)


With any reflection on any surface there is a slight loss of sharpness and light so the replica will be a little darker and less sharp than the original. Don’t worry, that’s just the nature of reflections.

(7/13/16) A white duck is reflected as it floats lazily on the waters of one of the ponds at Victory Park in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D3s. Lens: Nikkor 70-200mm w/1.7 extender @ 340mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/11. ISO: 200)

You can photograph a found situation or you can set one up, it’s up to you. Either way take some time to reflect on whatever situation you choose to come up with a great photo.

(4/23/10) The Court Tower building is reflected in the walls of the Chase Bank building in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 80-200mm @ 98mm. Exposure: 1/125th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200)

How to enter:

1. Entries can be emailed to coto@recordnet.com. Type in “Reflections” in the subject line

2. Photos have to be shot between July 2 and July 16.

3. The number of photos is limited to no more than 12 per person.

4. Include your name (first and last), hometown, and the kind of device you used and where it was taken (eg.: “John Doe of Stockton. Micke Grove Park, Lodi. iPhone6s”).

5. If there is a recognizable person in the photo, please identify them (name, age, hometown) and what they are doing in the photos (eg.: Jane Doe, 15, is reflected in the still waters of Lodi Lake).

6. Please feel free to include any interesting anecdotes or stories on how you took the picture.

7. The deadline for submission is July 16. The top examples will be published on Tuesday, July 23 with an online gallery of all the photos on the same day.

(1/29/19) The sun is reflected in the sunglasses of David Lopez of Stockton as he enjoys the warm temperatures in the mid 60s at the Weber Point Events Center in downtown Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D5. Lens: Nikkor 24-120mm @ 120mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/16. ISO: 200)

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